EU didn’t impose any ban on cargo: Menon

DHAKA, June 6, 2017 (BSS) - Civil Aviation and Tourism Minister Rashed Khan Menon has cleared that the European Union (EU) did not impose any ban on taking air cargo from Bangladesh rather they suggested upgrading existing airport security with explosive detected system.

"I would like to clear one thing that the EU didn't impose any ban on taking cargo from our airport. Cargo shipment to EU is on. Even today we shipped direct cargo to EU member countries from our Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport (HSIA)," Menon told BSS today.

Recently, the EU has put Bangladesh on the list of high-risk countries in terms of operating cargo services by air and sea to the EU countries.

"The EU has a list of 12 high risk countries. Recently, they added Bangladesh and Kuwait to the list," the minister said.

Menon said the EU gave three conditions - installation of Explosive Detection System, Explosive Tress System (ETD) and deploy Explosive Detection Dog (EDD) squad - in the cargo area of the airports to avoid any kind of direct cargo carrying ban to the EU countries.

The minister said the Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB) has already procured equipment to install DDS and ETD from the USA.

"The RAB and BGB have dog squads. We will deploy their dog squads at the cargo zone of HSIA within one week and we are expecting to install the DDS and ETD system at the airport by last week of July or first week of August.

The minister said EU Ambassador in Dhaka Pierre Mayaudon held a meeting with CAAB Chairman Air Vice-Marshal Ehsanul Gani Chowdhury yesterday to discuss the issue.

"The CAAB authority sought time to install the above mentioned equipment by August," he said.

Menon said he has already informed the matter to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and also discussed it with the Foreign Minister.

"Apart from the security upgradation, we will also put diplomatic efforts to solve the issue," he said.

CAAB sources said the EU took the decision at a time when they are upgrading security system of HSIA.

A team of CAAB will visit USA this month for inspection of the procured equipment for installing EDS and ETD system at the airport.

In failing of fulfilling the security demands, the EU may impose a ban of taking direct cargo shipment from Bangladesh. In that case, Bangladeshi goods will require re-screening at a third airport en route to an EU country.

Last year, Australia, the UK and Germany imposed a ban on direct cargo flights pointing out weak security system of HSIA.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)